BENGALURU: I grew up as a typical Indian, dairy-loving vegetarian. When one of my friends turned vegan 16 years ago, I thought he must have lost his mind. I mean, what sane person would be willing to live without cakes, ice creams and a South Indian’s truest love, Mosaranna (curd rice)? I refused to believe any information he shared about the plight of the dairy cow, claiming that the standard industry practices he spoke about so passionately, didn’t happen in India. It took me less than a year to stop being in denial. Once I faced the truth, there was no way I could prioritise my taste buds over the life of an animal.
Little did I know how utterly clueless I’d been. That decision to go vegan was about to change the entire course of my life, and in the best way possible. It didn’t take me long to realise that not only were there multiple plant-based alternatives to all the dairy foods I loved (my vegan mosaranna was now being made with soy curds, peanuts curd, cashews curd or coconut curd, depending on my mood), there was also this whole world of new ingredients and recipes I’d never heard of!
Earlier, I used to cook out of necessity, but going vegan triggered a new-found passion in me for cooking and baking. I learnt so many exotic ways to use familiar ingredients and created my own recipes.
While I didn’t enjoy animal milk-based cheese earlier, when I was introduced to nut-based vegan cheese, I promptly fell in love with it. The beauty of fermenting my own cheese spreads at home had me totally hooked! So when I joined Carrots Restaurant as Countess of Cuisine and Jollification, I naturally put my favourite Herbed Cheese on to the menu. It’s quite a hit among our guests, especially when they have them on our pizzas. The secret lies in fermenting the cashew and tofu based mixture for many hours. The probiotic action incorporates the flavours of the fresh herbs so well. Since it’s full of good bacteria, it has all the gut friendly benefits of curd and is excellent for raw consumption, as a dip or spread. You can try them in Tabbouleh Salad Lettuce Wraps.
Broken Wheat - 1/2 C
Romaine Lettuce Leaves - 10 large
Baby Apples (crunchy Mishri variety), chopped - 2
Medium plum tomatoes, diced - 3
Fresh Parsley, finely chopped - ¼ C
Vegan Herbed Cheese - 1/2 C
Salt & Pepper to taste
* Soak the broken wheat in water for about 15-20 minutes and drain.
* Toss together all ingredients, except lettuce, cover and keep aside. You have your creamy tabbouleh.
* Separate the lettuce leaves and clean them.
* Spread a leaf on a flat surface and spoon some of the tabbouleh mixture in the centre of the leaf. Wrap and place seam side down on a plate.
* Continue doing the same with the remaining lettuce leaves.
- Susmitha Veganosaurus, co-owner, Carrots Restaurant